AQUACOSM-plus

Network of Leading Ecosystem Scale Experimental AQUAtic MesoCOSM Facilities Connecting Rivers, Lakes, Estuaries and Oceans in Europe and beyond

At the LakeLab in Neuglobsow research experiments are regularly conducted in the frame of international collaborations. Projects like AQUACOSM-plus enable the exchange and collaboration with international experts, here during the CONNECT LakeLab experiment of 2019, Photo: Federico Cheda, 3edata

AQUACOSM-plus is a European network of aquatic experimental mesocosm facilities, with the mission to address the dramatic challenges aquatic ecosystems are facing by providing an open-access to high- quality and innovative European-driven research infrastructures, coordinate a broad multidisciplinary international research community, development and coordination of international leading research as well as methods beyond the state-of-the-art integrating all aquatic realms across EU. The network is coordinated from IGB and we bring together a research community specialised in experimental mesocosm-based research, covering freshwater and marine ecosystems from the Arctic to the Mediterranean.

For more information our project website can be found here.

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Under the funding of different EU framework programmes the European Research Infrastructure (RI) Consortium has grown and developed. While the first project MESOAQUA was composed solely of marine mesocosm infrastructures and was coordinated by Nejstgaard and Berger from Bergen, Norway, the second stage “AQUACOSM” already combined marine and freshwater fields, spanning European climatic zones and was coordinated by Nejstgaard, Berger and Makower @ IGB.

Development of the European mesocosm network towards the current RI AQUACOSM-plus

With the third stage, incorporating 30 partners, including an NGO and several SMEs, the project AQUACOSM-plus advances European mesocosm-based aquatic RI by integrating the leading mesocosm infrastructures into a coherent, interdisciplinary, and interoperable network covering all ecoregions of Europe also increasing competence in mesocosm science in new EU member states now also including Hungary and Romania.

Partners in European Ecoregions

By providing Access to our facilities in Germany and across Europe our “Transnational Access” programme supports aquatic research, technology development and innovation in the context of current grand challenges like climate change. More than 13000 days of access will be offered to guests at the various facilities. The support includes coverage of travels, board, lodging, and offers the participants to benefit from the wide expertise of the network.  Offering close collaborations in large teams over extended time have proven to support a rapid development of personal international networks, especially important for early-career scientists.

Additionally, we are emphasizing training of young scientists through summer schools covering various disciplines including effective science communication.

The long-term aim is that this contributes to close historical gaps in scientific tradition between different aquatic realms and regions, and will support the ongoing development towards international cross disciplinary science well beyond the aquatic realm. 

AQUACOSM-plus develops new technological capabilities for mesocosm research, to effectively execute scenario-testing for Climate Change -related pressures on aquatic systems from upstream fresh waters to the sea. These developments include mobile large-scale mesocosm approaches, leading-edge imaging technologies, and affordable methods to obtain high frequency data on community change and greenhouse gas fluxes in mesocosm settings. AQUACOSM-plus also develops near-real-time Open Data flows and improved metadata, thus promoting Open Mesocosm Science in collaboration with leading EU-supported initiatives in the EOSC and fosters wider sharing of information, knowledge, and technologies across fields and between academia, industry, and policy makers/advisers.

European RI landscape

AQUACOSM-plus will progress beyond current achievements by actively pursuing RI-RI collaboration with European environmental RIs (LTER, ICOS, DANUBIUS, JERICO and others) at all project activity levels (Network Activities, Joint Research Activities, Transnational Access). Multidisciplinary joint research, combining observational data and modelling approaches with targeted mesocosm experiments, is a key step towards successfully tackling current and future Grand Challenges. This involves shared capacity building via symposia, expert summits, and open workshops, with the aim of co-designing future aquatic research actions and their RI demands.

Contact person

Stella A. Berger

Research Group Leader
Research group
Experimental Phytoplankton Ecology

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